The identity of Backes, part of the silver medal-winning U.S. Olympic hockey team in 2010, is primarily as the heart and soul of the NHL's St. Louis Blues, of whom he's the captain. Although Backes, a center, has never accumulated more than 31 goals or 62 points in his eight NHL seasons, he excels because of his ability to play an all-around game--offense, defense and physicality--and because he possesses the off-ice leadership skills that teams crave.
- Silver medal-winner in the 2010 Olympics.
- 2011-12 nominee for the NHL's Selke Trophy, which is awarded annually to the League's top defensive forward.
- 2010-11 NHL All-Star.
Things to know:
1. Played collegiate hockey at Minnesota State University-Mankato.
2. Earned his pilot's license in 2012.
3. In 2013, his wife, Kelly, and he founded "Athletes for Animals", an organization whose goal is to rescue at-risk animals and find homes for them.